Hartlepool’s Gus Robinson Developments boxing team were today “gutted” after Anth Hardy’s English title eliminator was called off.
The Horden fighter was due to face undefeated Londoner Freddy Kiwitt in the capital on Saturday night.
It’s horrible for something like this to happen at any time but just days before the fight is sickeningPETER COPE
But Hardy now needs surgery on an eye problem after failing his annual British Boxing Board of Control medical.
And Gus Robinson head coach, Peter Cope, says the 24-year-old will now not box until next year.
“We’re all gutted,” he told SportMail. “Anth had his medical which came back with an issue over his eyes.
“We didn’t think it was something that would cause the fight to be off and we sought a second opinion.
“But we’ve had the ruling from the British Boxing Board of Control and Anth can’t box.
“He’s going to have laser surgery which will put him out for at least three months so he won’t fight aain until next year.
“It’s horrible for something like this to happen at any time but just days before the fight is sickening.
“I could not have asked for any more from Anth.
“It has been a brilliant camp - nothing, absolutely nothing has gone wrong and now this.
“When the fight was made, we knew we were up against it, fighting a London kid, in London.
“But as the weeks have passed I’ve seen the work Anth has put in and the quality he has demonstrated.
“While we knew Kiwitt was favourite I was confident we had a proper chance.
“It’s devastating, but it’s not the end of the road.
“Anth will be back and I’m convinced his chance will come and he’ll get a crack at titles at this level.
“It’s not a career-ending problem, it’s something which can be fixed.”
Kiwitt v Hardy was a fascinating light-welterweight match at the famous York Hall between the big-hitting 26-year-old, known as “Pretty Boy” and the slick southpaw, who had an unsuccessful challenge for the English title last year.
Both boxers had clocked up 10 contests, Hardy winning eight while Kiwitt had a perfect 100 per cent record.
Cope said he had no gripes about the strict medical attention from the BBBC.
“These rules are in place for the welfare of boxers and that can only be a good thing,” added the trainer. “There was a slight deterioration so this now needs attention.
“His health and well being are paramount and the laser surgery he is going to have will benefit not just his boxing but his life.
“And, like I say, I’m sure he’ll be back.”